[ :show documentation: ]
Photos by Joey Oey
INTER ARMA (Virginia)
Inter Arma’s music resists generalization and categorization, but if there’s one thing that’s consistently true, it’s that the VA quintet possesses an unparalleled sense of scope. Few artists today accurately convey the complexity that Inter Arma (Latin for “in times of war”) does the band creates terrible and often hauntingly beautiful portraits of humanity through music that is deeply organic yet still mystical and modern. Inter Arma are just as committed to the live circuit as they are to their records: the band has performed extensively throughout Europe and the US, sharing the stage with the likes of Kylesa, Baroness, Cough, Royal Thunder, Black Tusk, Ulcerate, Russian Circles, Windhand, and dozens of others. Inter Arma’s raw, uninhibited approach merges doom metal, psychedelic sludge, black metal, prog and more, and over the course of the last ten years, has established the band as a uniquely innovative force in contemporary extreme metal.
Founded in Richmond in 2006, the versatile and genre-defying five-piece released their debut full-length Sundown via Forcefield Records in 2010, and like all great artists, had a well-defined sound right from the start. Sundown found Inter Arma widespread critical acclaim, and, combined with the band’s relentless touring schedule and DIY grit, quickly helped Inter Arma make a name for themselves in the underground. Following Sundown, the band released the 12″ EP Destroyer via Toxic Assets Records. That record was strong enough to catch the attention of Relapse Records, who signed Inter Arma later in 2012, and in 2013, the band unleashed the monolithic Sky Burial, a doomy, hour-long excursion through unpredictable textures and timbres. Just two years later, the band followed Sky Burial with The Cavern, a 45+ minute, single-song EP. Originally written during the summer of 2009, then slowly reworked and perfected, The Cavern was recorded in 2013 during breaks from the band’s non-stop tours. Both The Cavern and Sky Burial were widely hailed as some of the best records of their respective years and garnered Inter Arma accolades from the likes of Pitchfork, NPR, Rolling Stone, and many other publications worldwide.
Two years after The Cavern, Inter Arma are poised to return with their heaviest and most multifaceted work to date. Paradise Gallows is more than an hour of lush, colorful melodies and textures blended with the heaviness of the earth’s impending death. Like the band’s previous works, the new album Paradise Gallows is direct and foreboding while maintaining a nuanced, artful perspective. Inter Arma’s signature palette of dissonant high-end and abyssal low-end has been augmented with swathes of thick, impressionistic melody that lend Paradise Gallows a truly biblical sense of scale, both lyrically and in terms of the album’s sonic content. Harsh and acoustic passages (including the band’s first-ever foray into clean vocals) spar with complex rhythmic structures across nine sweeping tracks of expansive, progressive heaviness. The album was again recorded with Mikey Allred (Yautja, Hivelords) at Dark Art Audio in Nashville, and features gorgeous cover art by Orion Landau. Dense, funereal, and richly evocative, Paradise Gallows is a rich blend of doom, post-metal, sludge, and black and death metal, and is a singular and powerful new addition to the band’s already monumental discography.
CALL OF THE VOID (Colorado)
Colorado’s Call of The Void produces the aural equivalent of getting repeatedly kicked in the teeth by a ten-ton, steel-forged beast. Originally formed in Boulder as Ironhorse in late 2011, the band plays a furious mix of punk, hardcore and grind. Call of The Void’s uniquely challenging alloy got the band started off strong the quintet began playing local shows beside heavy-hitters like Gaza and Cattle Decapitation almost immediately, and signed to Relapse in late 2012 before even releasing a single record.
Call of The Void released its debut album Dragged Down a Dead End Path in early 2013 and quickly received copious praise from publications such as Pitchfork, Metal Hammer, and Invisible Oranges. Upholding its reputation for devastating live performances, the band appeared at Denver Black Sky in 2013 and is scheduled to play Southwest Terror Fest in October 2015 in support of Sleep, Thou, The Body, Bongripper, Graves at Sea, and many others. Call of The Void has also toured the continental US, appearing alongside Today Is The Day, Eyehategod, The Acacia Strain and Relapse colleagues Weekend Nachos and Primitive Man.
The band dropped its second full length Ageless in February 2015, raising its already-high profile even further and earning praise from the likes of Metal Hammer, Decibel, New Noise, and MetalSucks. 2015 also saw a lineup change for the band: vocalist Steve Vanica announced his departure from Call of The Void in July 2015. Said the band, “touring and being in a band is not for everyone and priorities change. We’re saddened to not have Steve behind the mic anymore, but we are excited to still continue on with the same core, making great music.” Yet this change won’t hold Call of The Void back; the band is retaining all its other members, with guitarist Patrick Alberts set to assume vocal duties. Despite the aggressive negativity of Call of The Void’s music, the future looks promising for the Colorado quartet: nothingness may beckon, but Call of The Void has found the perfect balance of temptation and restraint, its nihility teetering on the edges of triumph and despair.
KYOTY (New Hampshire)
“There’s no mistaking KYOTY’s kinetic riffs and sprawling post-metal sound. The sheer force of their booming industrial oscillations is enough to pulverize eardrums, while their atmospheric shoegazing captivates the mind. In 2009, Nick Filth, Nathaniel Parker Raymond, and Robert Brown began a musical exploration that reached a new level this month with the release of “Geomancy I,” the first album in a three-part series. A year and a half in the making, it reveals a powerfully accurate representation of the band’s intense live shows.” – Andrew Wallace, The Sound
“It’s hard to think about an atmospheric sludge metal band as being calming, but it is because of the way that KYOTY paces their album and keeps a very deliberate tempo throughout songs (and when they change tempo it has a purpose!). When they add flourishes to the standard sludge or post-metal template, it is often in such a way to make a song smoother and easier to digest than to be abrasive. It’s a nice change from the norm.” – Decoymusic.com